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Pinyin Understanding Mandarin Tones
Posted by : Parth  [Wednesday, October 28, 2009]

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In 1958 the Chinese government released the official Pinyin format as an attempt at Romanization of the Chinese characters. Since then Pinyin has become a standard form for people wanting to understand the Chinese language without having to study its tough and complex characters.

In Chinese tones carry a vital importance. Depending on the kind of tone you are using you could be calling a horse or your mother. The following are the four tones of Chinese and how they are used:

First Tone: This tone is flat and is designated by a straight line over the vowel like ?.

Second Tone: This tone is represented by an upward slant upon the vowel like á and is of a rising nature. This is typically used when asking a question.

Third Tone: This tone is a ‘v’ shape on top of the vowel like ?. This tone first rises then goes low and finally goes high again.

Fourth Tone: This tone is represented by a downward slanting slope upon the vowel like à and is used to signify a strong antagonistic feeling against something.

Fifth Tone: This is known as the neutral tone and is often used as a dot in front of the vowel like - a.

In order to gain a good understanding of the Chinese language it is very important that you understand the tonal nature of the language first. Pinyin has been designed to do just that and is a very effective tool to be used. There are many websites which are offering instructions online about how you can understand Pinyin. Some of these use interactive software which can aid any learner who wants to learn Pinyin all on his own.
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